Dash is gaining traction throughout the world and, in particular, in developing countries where governments are failing the people. In fact, of the over 3,000 merchants that are listed on DiscoverDash.com, approximately half of them are in Venezuela. This is no coincidence. When people cannot use or rely on their national currency, cryptocurrency is a viable and necessary alternative.
Whether as a means of shielding their wealth from hyperinflation, accepting remittances, or simply paying for things, Dash is catching on. But as with any other cryptocurrency right now, things are far from perfect. While more and more people are spreading the word about cryptocurrency in Venezuela, if people don’t have access to a computer or smartphone, they may as well save their breath.
Mobile Technology and Cryptocurrencies
Smartphone adoption is increasing around the world, which allows for the possibility of cryptocurrency to bank the unbanked. Combining smartphones with crypto will allow for micro trading, micro businesses, and microlending. However, while in the US smartphone penetration is practically absolute, developing countries still lag behind.
In Venezuela, the largest users of Dash, only around 40 percent of the population own smartphones. Which means that cryptocurrency (as we know and use it) isn’t a solution for the majority. Until now.
Two separate services DashText and CoinText have launched providing an SMS-based Dash wallet. This means that Dash can be sent and received without an internet connection or a smartphone. In a country with a growing humanitarian crisis that relies heavily on remittances (which are government controlled and costly), this is a lifeline.
Using either of these two services, remittances can be sent from the US to Venezuela in seconds with just a flip phone.
SMS Remittances Saving Lives in Venezuela
DashText was funded by a Dash treasury proposal and is an SMS-based Dash wallet currently functioning in public beta on one of the three major mobile carriers in Venezuela (although, according to Dash, the other two will follow shortly). It works via a 5-digit shortcode and SMS commands to send, receive, deposit, withdraw, check your balance, etc. You can get a better look for yourself here:
DashText CTO and project lead Lorenzo Rey says, “40 percent of Venezuelans have smartphones and many of them are old smartphones. It’s still a big market considering Venezuela is a third world country, but there are still way too many people who can’t use Dash at the moment. Being able to use Dash on a feature phone opens it up to millions of new users.”
When it comes to receiving money from abroad, SMS remittances are actually saving lives. “It is crucial,” he says. “With the economic disaster, there are millions of Venezuela relying on remittances, and the government is making regulations so that remittances go through them. Being able to receive remittances using cryptocurrencies is crucial for helping Venezuela, and DashText will be the easiest way to do so.”
The Infrastructure Is Growing
CoinText an SMS-based wallet, the inspiration behind DashText in fact, originally only worked with Bitcoin Cash. But they recently began offering support for other cryptocurrencies, including Dash. No official announcement has been released yet, although, DashText CTO tweeted the below, which the CoinText official account retweeted:
More CRYPTOCURRENCIES??? 🤔@CoinText new releases begin this month and go strong through the rest of 2018#Spanish #Portuguese#BitcoinCash #Bitcoin #Litecoin #Dash pic.twitter.com/RJ24h5De3G
— Ⓥin Ⓐrmani (@vinarmani) September 7, 2018
Dash Merchant Venezuela head of business development Alejandro Echeverría says, “Currently, remittances represent the income of millions of Venezuelans because there are millions of Venezuelan living abroad who send money to their families in order to help them overcome the crisis.”
Since the Venezuelan government implemented strict regulation for remittances, most Venezuelans are remitting money to their family through illegal third parties that charge up to 40 percent on fees–without offering guaranteed delivery.
“Dash can be used for this since the cost of the transactions is less than a penny, the confirmations are almost instantaneous, and there is a whole ecosystem where people can buy things with Dash thanks to the work done by the teams here.”
Spreading Hope in Venezuela and Beyond
The highest growth in Dash adoption is coming from countries where governments and central banking have failed the people. Since this is the very place that Satoshi came from almost a decade ago, beyond investing and HODLing, speculation and trading, this is a real, valuable, humanitarian use case for crypto.
“When suffering a severe currency crisis the general public and businesses have no option but to look to the free-market to select the best working solution available as an alternative to fiat currency which has failed them. I believe the reason we’re witnessing exponential growth in adoption is because Dash is a truly decentralized borderless trustless solution that is free from state manipulation. Essentially free the market, free the people,” says Dash Force Director of Media and PR.